Seventy years ago, meat, milk and egg production started to industrialize, forcing farmers to go along or go under. Farms transformed into CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) or CFOs (smaller versions of CAFOs), where animals were removed from the barn yard and crowded into large buildings. Past the point where it was safe for us, good for the environment and where the animals were allowed to live as God intended. These farms are governed by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, not the Indiana Department of Agriculture, because of the potential environmental hazards.
The IDEM has rules and regulations governing the approval of these farms. However, they do not regulate location, air quality, disposal of dead animals, increased traffic and insects or the devaluation of neighboring properties, which can be as much at 50 percent.
To keep the animals alive and profitable in those buildings, the farmers administer the same antibiotics doctors give us, which is creating a significant risk to public health due to the bacteria developing resistance to those antibiotics. To learn more, search “CAFO impact” on the Internet.
The State seems to be ignoring these problems because when SB-113, to impose a three-year moratorium on CAFOs in order to study the health issues, was introduced for the 2011 session, it died in committee, as did SB-556, to make CAFOs responsible for any environmental damage they might cause. These bills have not been reintroduced.
A growing movement is emerging to question the practices of industrial animal agriculture and the lack governmental involvement in regulating these operations. Please go to www.hecweb.org and enter “CAFO” in the search window. To learn more, ask questions or make comments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
H.R. Wilson, founder, Hoosiers for Humane Animal Agriculture